International legal organizations have strongly condemned the murder of a top Paraguayan prosecutor and urged authorities in South America to bring those responsible for his execution to justice.
Marcelo Pecci was on his honeymoon at a Colombian resort last month when two men pulled up on a jet ski and shot him three times, in the face and back. The couple had just announced via social media that they were expecting a baby.
A large transnational investigation is underway involving the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and Interpol, as well as authorities in Paraguay and Colombia.
“The New York Bar Association joins Paraguay and Colombia in mourning the violent and untimely death of Pecci at the hands of assassins for no apparent reason other than the fact that he excelled at his job,” said the Bar in a press release. “And the Law Society urges governments around the world to redouble their commitment to the safety and security of their prosecutors, to honor Pecci’s memory and his life of public service.”
Pecci was a highly regarded prosecutor in Paraguay and beyond. He specialized in cases involving organized crime, drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorist financing.
In light of the murder, the International Association of Prosecutors has also called on states around the world to review the protections in place and consider strengthening those measures to keep prosecutors safe.
“The murder of Mr. Pecci, once again, puts the focus on the safety of prosecutors and their families,” the International Association of Prosecutors said in a statement.
“If prosecutors are to successfully fulfill their mandate of upholding the rule of law, bringing criminals to justice and contributing to the safety of communities, they themselves must be adequately protected at all times. “, added the association.
Paraguay is a notorious hub for multinational criminal groups involved in drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering and arms smuggling.
As a landlocked country located between drug-consuming and drug-producing regions, Paraguay attracts transnational criminal organizations wishing to conduct smuggling operations in the region and cross it to other countries and continents.
More recently, Pecci was at the center of an ongoing operation against a massive drug trafficking and money laundering ring that transports cocaine from Bolivia and Colombia through Paraguay and to European ports.
Known as ‘A Ultranza Py’, the operation led to dozens of arrests and implicated politicians, military and business elites, underscoring the close ties between organized crime and some of the biggest names in the world. Paraguay.
Additionally, Pecci seized luxury vehicles, planes, yachts, livestock, real estate and other assets. Drug traffickers have lost more than $100 million due to his relentless pursuit, authorities say.
Pecci was also responsible for the 2020 prosecution of global soccer icon Ronaldinho, accused of entering Paraguay with a fake passport, and high-profile cases involving the violent Brazilian prison gang Primeiro Comando da Capital (First Capital Command), as well as the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.
Law enforcement officials are treating the assassination as a professional “coup,” a murder-for-hire directly tied to Pecci’s work as a prosecutor in Paraguay.
Belinda Bobadilla, vice president of the Association of Prosecutors of Paraguay, said via Twitter that the “cowardly” attack on Pecci was part of a series of assaults on institutions in Latin America.
“This reaction occurs throughout Latin America when prosecutors investigate or bring charges against criminal organizations or people of political or economic importance,” Bobadilla said. wrote in a Twitter post on May 10.
Given the high-profile nature of his work, Pecci was one of the most watched people in Paraguay. But he had left his security team behind when he went on vacation to Colombia.